This weekend we have the grandchildren. “Mum and Dad” have a long weekend in a comfortable hotel not too far away. We have all done this before. We all want to do this again.
I love being a granddad. I love the relationship between a skipped generation. The absence of must – the joy of okay – the reality of saying we can – the reality of saying other stuff can wait. What I struggle with is “being that” over a full long weekend. Small children like being told “yes we can”. Small children then test out “the expectation of yes” in more and more things:
Can I empty the cupboard of treats … can I go to the park right now … can I not go to bed – ever … can I drink sugar all day and all night … can I clear the surface s and hurt my brother just because I can … can I pinch my brother’s stuff because he breathed on me wrong … can I say why endlessly … can I say no endlessly … and why have you started to say no instead of yes … ?
Despite my best of intentions I find I become more of a parent over a long weekend – a benevolent, loving (grand)parent – just not the same “yes we can” granddad I usually am.
I think about God Soft Hands Jesus as I contemplate the-weekend-about-to-be and my (expected) morphing from “grand” to “less grand” – and then back again.
How I spend my life being a good child with my living “father”. How I desire rather than demand. How I converse rather than shop. How he and I have a “thang going on.”
“You see, Paul I don’t have to “discipline you” nor “keep the peace” nor all that stuff you feel you have to do to make a harmonious home be just that. I don’t have to intervene if you want to throw all your toys out of the pram and have a rant. I don’t have to walk away to keep my sanity after 24 hours of relentless “me me me” from you you you. I don’t have to because my “job” is not to be your carer. My job – if I must have one – is to love you without condition through eternity. The eternity of one long millisecond and the eternity of one long drawn out lifetime.
What do either of us gain by me intervening all the time? You intervene with a very few. Those you know. Those you live with. Those in your small circle of love. Now imagine that with every single one breathing this very second. Imagine “intervening” with unconditional love in every second with everyone everywhere.
I can never have the relationship of a grandfather with you. You and I are full–on … every second … of every day. But I am not your parent either. I am not the one to give or withhold. To reward or to punish. That moves us both closer to conditional love … Behave well love. I know better love. I deserve love more than you love. Prosperity love. Austerity love. Even religious love. And perhaps indoctrinated love. Whatever “condition” you want to call it … “love”.
And that isn’t me – or us – either. I can only be your friend.
And we both know a song about that.”
Have a great weekend 🙂